By now, we all know the safest way to travel in 2021 is to get vaccinated, wear a mask, avoid crowds, and wash our hands. But what other risks should we be concerned about when traveling? We know not to flash our cash at the ATM and that a sign that says “don’t drink the water” is not merely a suggestion. But there are some things to be cautious about while traveling that may not be on your radar. From other health risks to identity theft, here are some risks you may not expect to encounter while traveling and tips for mitigating them.
1. Use Your Own Hotspot
Using public Wi-Fi networks can be risky business. While unsecured networks are easy to connect to, they’re also easy for hackers to use to access your personal information. Even public networks that are secure pose a threat. First of all, hackers can set up legit-looking counterfeit networks in places like airports or train stations where tourists will select and sign in to the bogus network unknowingly. Essentially, the hacker is placing their device between yours and the Wi-Fi connection so they can access data like your credit card info. That’s why we recommend using your smartphone’s hotspot instead of public Wi-Fi networks.
It’s also a good idea to sign up with an identity protection service like Identity Guard(R) to help protect your personal information and safeguard your identity online. Even the most basic Value Plan comes with a Safe Browsing Tool to help protect you while surfing the web. All plans come with $1 million in insurance** to cover your eligible losses if you do experience identity theft. Plus, Identity Guard’s U.S.-based support team is there for you every step of the way through the recovery process.
2. Save Your Social Brags For When You Get Home
It is so tempting to post photos and updates of your travels while on vacation, but the reality is that if your social media accounts are public, you’re basically just announcing to the world that you’re not home. “Having a great time in Aruba, feel free to go break into my house later!” Savvy criminals and shifty characters that have made your friends list are watching. Post with caution.
Not only can Identity Guard help protect your Social Security card info, but it can also monitor your social profile. Its top-tier Ultra Plan includes a Social Media Insight Report that analyzes your Facebook timeline to assess your online image and recommended actions to improve it. How does it do this? IBM® Watson™ — no joke — the Artificial Intelligence that beat Ken Jennings on Jeopardy.
3. Avoid Economy Class Syndrome
Have you heard of this malady? Economy Class Syndrome sounds like something you develop from being herded into coach like cattle, having your knees jammed into the seat in front of you for hours, and putting up with the screaming baby in the next row. But the term actually refers to the excessive blood coagulation that predisposed passengers can experience during air travel, which can result in venous thromboembolism (VTE).
A clinical condition, VTE involves two related situations: venous thrombosis and pulmonary embolism. Body mass index, thrombophilia, oral contraceptives or hormone replacement therapy, and cancer are all factors that can make an individual passenger more susceptible to blood clots when combined with immobilization, hypobaric hypoxia (HBH), and low humidity on a plane. To help prevent Economy Class Syndrome on long-haul flights, those with risk factors like smoking or obesity should wear compression socks, get up and take frequent walks, exercise their calf muscles, and stay hydrated.
4. Be Prepared For All Eventualities With A Travel Health Kit
Speaking of staying healthy while traveling, channel your inner Boy Scout and “Always be prepared” by packing a travel health kit. In addition to first aid and over-the-counter remedies, this kit should include current medications as well as copies of prescriptions.
5. Pack Medication In Your Carry-On
Speaking of scripts, in her article 7 Travel Agent Tips I Wish I’d Listened To, Nadine Cresswell-Myatt recommends stowing meds in your carry-on in case the airline loses your checked bags. She also suggests bringing more than you think you’ll need. TSA doesn’t require your meds to be in the original bottle, but certain states may. Check the TSA website to find out what you can and can’t bring.
6. Careful Of Credit Card Skimmers and Shimmers
You’ve probably heard of credit card skimmers — those virtually undetectable card readers that can steal your card info. It’s easy to unwittingly swipe your card in a skimmer, which is disguised to look like part of an ATM, gas pump, or some other point of sale. Chip credit cards combat this issue, but crooks are keeping up with technology. Now, credit card shimmers can penetrate that extra layer of security, pilfering data from the encrypted chip. There’s no real way to protect yourself from either skimmers or shimmers. You could opt to pay for everything with cash, but even if that were possible, you’d probably have to use an ATM. Your best bet is to invest in an identity theft protection service like Identity Guard. That way, if you do happen to have a card calamity, you’ll have their team of professionals to turn to.
Why You Should Travel With Identity Guard
We may not be able to avoid all the hazards of travel, but you can take steps to protect yourself from identity theft while at home or abroad with Identity Guard. Not only does it help you protect your sensitive information, but it also monitors many of your online activities that might be fraudulent and alerts you. In fact, over the past 20-plus years, Identity Guard has protected approximately 47 million consumers.
Identity theft is no joke. Once armed with your personal information, fraudsters can take out a loan in your name, sign up for a credit card, and cause havoc to your credit in a number of ways. But not with Identity Guard’s monitoring and 4x faster notifications in the biz via app or email! Whether at home or on the road, if a threat is detected, your personal case manager will be there with expert guidance to help see you through from start to finish. And hey, don’t forget about that million dollar insurance to cover your eligible losses!
*The score you receive with Identity Guard is provided for educational purposes to help you understand your credit. It is calculated using the information contained in your Experian or TransUnion credit file. Lenders use many different credit scoring systems, and the score you receive with Identity Guard is not the same score used by lenders to evaluate your credit.
**Identity Theft Insurance underwritten by insurance company subsidiaries or affiliates of American International Group‚ Inc. The description herein is a summary and intended for informational purposes only and does not include all terms‚ conditions and exclusions of the policies described. Please refer to the actual policies for terms‚ conditions‚ and exclusions of coverage. Coverage may not be available in all jurisdictions.